The London Legacy Development Corporation today unveiled its plans for the opening of the future Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The 18 months from October 2012 will see the Park transform from an Olympic site into a brand new piece of the city, right in the heart of London’s East End. By spring 2014, the 560 acre Olympic Park will become an exciting new visitor destination and community park, unlike any other in the UK.

The new Park – which will begin to open its gates from July 2013 – will combine lush parklands and waterways, new neighbourhoods and world class sports and entertainment venues. It will draw on the unique character, energy and heritage of London’s East End and the best elements of London living, to create a brand new space for residents and visitors. The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has already announced plans for the first large scale event to take place in the park next summer – a two day, world class festival of cycling which could attract thousands of visitors and generate millions of pounds in economic benefit.

As well as its collection of iconic venues, the Park will be defined by two distinct areas: the river valley in the north, and a 50 acre urban landscape in the south. The North Park will include a nature-themed community hub and playground, where children will be able to build dens and create their own everyday adventures in nature. The South Plaza will sit between the Stadium, Aquatics Centre and the ArcelorMittal Orbit. Here visitors can take a stroll down a tree-lined promenade, which will connect flexible spaces perfect for events and attractions like cultural programmes, pop up street food stalls and community events.

The creation of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will be one of the biggest construction projects in Europe. The18 month transformation programme marks its first phase, laying the foundations for further development across East London over the next 20 years. The transformation has three main objectives: To clear Games-time structures including temporary venues, bridges, walkways and roads; to connect the Park to the surrounding area with new roads, cycle and foot paths; and to complete permanent venues, bridges and parklands ready for residents’ and visitors’ everyday use.

To enable people to get onto the Park as quickly as possible, the Legacy Corporation has carefully planned its works to re-open the Park in phases, as each piece of work reaches completion. The first area will re-open from 27 July 2013 – exactly one year after the Olympics Opening Ceremony.

First to open will be the North Park in July 2013, which in addition to the community hub includes acres of vibrant green parklands and footpaths, perfect for picnics, walks and play. Also here, the Multi-Use Arena, a 7,500 capacity indoor entertainment venue will host a range of community events, along with a yearly programme of high profile sports and concerts. The Legacy Corporation will celebrate the opening of the North Park with an event for local residents and visitors.

Visitors will be able to access the Park through entrances in Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest, in addition to pedestrian access through Eton Manor. The remainder of the North Park will open at the end of 2013, and will include the Lee Valley VeloPark and more access points for visitors.

Second to open will be the South Plaza in Easter 2014, which will include some of the Park’s iconic venues including the ArcelorMittal Orbit and the Aquatics Centre, which will be adapted for everyday use including aqua-fitness classes, family swims and lane swimming and will have fully equipped changing rooms which will be available for use at standard local London prices – currently £4.35 per swim! From Easter 2014 residents and visitors will be able to access the whole Park, with new entrances opening via Westfield shopping centre and Stratford High Street in Newham.

The Legacy Corporation is bringing together a highly skilled and experienced team whose energy and expertise in design, construction and architecture will deliver the best quality Park while ensuring that plans are completed as quickly and efficiently as possible. The team is working in close partnership with local people, businesses and the host boroughs to create a Park that the local community feels it owns and can enjoy using, every day.

Andrew Altman, Chief Executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, said:

“London’s Olympic Legacy was rooted in the creation of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – a place that will become one of the most thriving parts of London. The creation of thousands of new homes and jobs will bring huge benefits to the area.

“The transformation will take the Park from an Olympic site, to a new piece of London that’s owned and shaped by the community in and around it. Above all, the Park will create a place of practical benefit for the surrounding community – a place to take your children swimming at weekends, go to school, walk your dog or go to a festival in the summer.”

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said:

“Within a year of the close of the 2012 Games, the Park will be ready to welcome not only another major sporting event, but also the thousands of residents and workers who will reap the benefits of this brand new district of the capital.

“The fantastic new sporting venues are only one part of the unfolding legacy story. The Park will help drive the growth London needs to steer it out of recession and on to long term prosperity.”

Shaun Dawson, Chief Executive of Lee Valley Regional Park Authority which will own and manage Lee Valley VeloPark, Lee Valley Hockey Centre and Lee Valley Tennis Centre said:

“Building legacy into the London 2012 Games from the outset means we will be running three world class venues on Olympic Park from December 2013. Lee Valley VeloPark, which will have the iconic Velodrome at its heart, Lee Valley Tennis Centre and Lee Valley Hockey Centre – which will host the 2015 European Hockey Championships – will see huge amounts of community use at world class facilities while giving the public the chance to see top level sport.”